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Home / Industry / Telecom /  Telcos urge DoT to include mmWave bands in 5G spectrum auction

India’s telecom operators have written a letter to the telecom department, seeking consultation on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands, which are crucial for the roll out of 5G wireless service.

In the letter, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged Anshu Prakash, secretary, department of telecommunications (DoT) to refer the mmWave—26GHz, 28GHz and 37GHz—bands to the sector regulator so that their minimum price can be fixed and they can be included in the 5G spectrum auction.

“We once again request DoT for an early referral to Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) for earmarking and including these mmWave bands for auction along with other 5G bands (namely 3.5GHz) as this is an imperative requirement," COAI said in the letter.

Mint has seen a copy of the letter.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd are COAI members.

It should be noted that India is yet to roll out 5G services. According to a Parliamentary standing committee report of 8 February, Prakash said spectrum auction for 5G is expected to be conducted in the next six months, following which the service will be launched at the end of this year or in early 2022.

However, the launch will not be on a pan-India basis but in areas where the demand justifies the investments, Prakash told the committee. Mint on 15 March reported, quoting a government official, that the DoT is likely to ask Trai to review the minimum price of bands (3,300-3,600MHz) earmarked for 5G.

Earlier this month, the government conducted 4G spectrum auction. It excluded spectrum bands recommended by Trai for 5G. These bands along with 700MHz spectrum, which was completely unsold in the auctions held on 1-2 March and in 2016, could be referred to Trai for a review, the official said.

Telecom operators have insisted that the floor price recommended by the Trai is “unaffordable" and will seriously hamper the introduction of 5G services in India.

The reserve price for 5G spectrum has been set at 492 crore per MHz of spectrum in the 3,300-3,600MHz bands, which are considered ideal for 5G telecom services.

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